Today’s Fiction...Tomorrow's Truth?
A former American pastor accused of a hate crime.
A driven Department of Justice official and a hostile international court.
At stake: the future of religious freedom in America – and around the world.
Alone in a foreign prison and abused by sadistic guards, Dr. Pat Preston struggles to keep his faith alive, waffling between courageous determination and utter despair. His only hope for freedom lies in the hands of the Alliance, an American Christian legal defense team, and their close ally Countess Isabella San Philippa, an expert in the world’s international courts.
Trial & Error, the second work of fiction by Alliance Defense Fund President and CEO Alan Sears, is a sequel to his first novel, In Justice. In frighteningly believable detail, this new book explores the ominous realities now shaping America’s courts, and how decisions being made right now are laying the foundation for a future in which Christians are aggressively persecuted by a legal system intent on enforcing a merciless secular agenda.
In this excerpt from the book (a copy of which is available to you at no cost – visit www.TruthandTriumph.org or see details on the tear-off response of the enclosed letter), a pastor of the near-future grapples with the reality that he’s been arrested simply for preaching the truth of Scripture.
The Hague, Netherlands –
May 30, 2018
Noise pressed into the small space and Pat Preston did his best not to listen. In the early weeks he often resorted to pressing his index fingers into his ears so deeply they hurt. The pain was more tolerable than the relentless buzzing. He would hum hoping to drown the incessant sound burrowing into his brain.
"The screams dissolved with acid-like efficiency whatever remained of a man’s dignity."
The screams were the worst. The sudden outbursts of manic laughter were unsettling; the moans heartrending, the weeping soul-shredding, but the screams – they came in the middle of the night, or shortly before dawn. Piercing and powerful, the screams fought through every barricade of courage, pressed through barriers of resolve, dissolved with acid-like efficiency whatever remained of a man’s dignity. Like a hill saturated with rain, pride and determination lost its tenacious hold on reality and slid away, leaving men little more than bags of mindless flesh capable of only fear and despair.
He wasn’t dreaming. He was a man alone in a small gray cell. No windows. One bed: a raised bier of concrete with a worn four-inch mattress resting on the flat surface, covered in worn, coarse military style blankets. Just two. No pillow. He wondered about the men who had the mattress before him.
Overhead a single low-voltage light protected by a steel and glass enclosure cast dim illumination through the cell. The light never went off. It glowed twenty-four hours a day. Pat had not experienced darkness since they brought him to this place.
This was Hell.
His crime? Preaching. He, like tens of thousands of ministers before him, preached a simple Gospel that portrayed Jesus as the only means of salvation – a message broadcast over television, radio, and the Internet. That sermon and others like it had landed him here.
Nashville: so far away, home to his family, his kids, his wife. So many miles distant in time and space. The image of Becky rose to his mind. He could see her playing with Luke and Phoebe. He pictured them at the ages they were during his early days as pastor of the 10,000-member church: a year old for Phoebe; two years old for Luke. They were older now. He had watched with pride as Luke started school and Phoebe adjusted to preschool.
He felt it coming: the onslaught of self-pity. It came often and, no matter how many times he told himself he wouldn’t play the game again, he did. First he blamed his old college friend, John Knox Smith, Assistant U.S. Attorney General and head of DTED – Diversity and Tolerance Enforcement Division, Department of Justice. Friends became adversaries in a process Pat had yet to understand. He did understand he was in a drab cell and Knox was sitting comfortably in his home.
The sense of despair washed over him like a tidal flood but he fought against it. Pat was determined to remain strong. He refused to let others see a Christian despair. He would follow the course before him, even if the path was no longer than the width of his cell.
All he had to do was survive. Survive with his sanity intact.
Trial & Error By Alan Sears
(Xulon Press, 369 pages)